Monday, February 23, 2009

A Big Steaming Pile of Dog Crap on Hollywood’s Lawn

Each year for the past ten, Leah and I have sat down to watch the Academy Awards. Not out of a crazed addiction to award shows or a fanatical devotion to the movies, but as more of a friendly diversion. We have always run betting pools with our friends and/or family as to who would be the winners. This year was no different, other than the fact that I didn’t know that the Awards were this past weekend, had no idea as to who the nominees actually were, and have seen two movies in the last year (Dark Knight & Quantum of Solace).

Luckily, Esther still felt the spirit of competition swell in her bones and organized the pool in my stead. She also proceeded to wipe the floor with me, Leah, John, and whoever else she sent it to. I think she ended up missing one pick the entire night. Esther has obviously invented the flux capacitor.

I usually don’t offer critiques of too many things here on The Fourth Row, but it struck me this morning that the Academy Awards last night were simply awful. And I lost four hours of my life that I can’t get back. So let the vitriol flow.

Hugh Jackman. Hugh was, in my humble opinion, the high point of the show (him and the big band soundtrack). He's not a comedian, but can pull off comedy. He is more of an entertainer than any host I can think of. And he can sing. The opening number was actually pretty good. And Anne Hathaway does indeed have a nice voice as well.

But the “Ode to the Musical” number? That was garbage. All of it. Beyonce. The closet homosexuals from High School Musical. The chubby girl from the Abba movie. Utter garbage. But what’s beautiful about it all is that Jackman knew it. He admitted he was being hokey in the opening number. Anyone could see that he could barely keep the laughter in at times.

The musical medley was supposed to be extravagant. It wasn’t. It was awkward and all-over-the-place, like a spastic child. And Hugh called out its creator at the end as if to say, “Yeah, I did it. But it didn’t change the fact that it still sucked. And so do you for forcing this on me.” Jackman called out Baz Lurman on national television and gave him the velvet gloved middle finger. Absolutely brilliant!

However, even though the show itself was somewhat tolerable, what really got me fuming were the tributes that were paid to all the best actor/supporting actor nominees. While the idea of bringing back a bunch of past winners to have them on hand for congratulations and a better wow factor is half-way decent, the honey dripping soliloquies that vomited from their mouths was gut-wrenching to have to endure.

These people weren’t about to win a Noble Prize. They did not cure cancer. In fact, some of their past movies are so bad they might cause cancer. They are not negotiating world peace or fighting drug-related gang killings in South Central LA. They are getting paid millions upon millions of dollars to play make-believe. They are the ruling class of high profile prima donnas. And God forbid their highly pure mountain spring water is a degree warmer than stipulated in their contract rider. . .

But to watch their reactions to what was oozing out all over their heads you would have thought that there was something truly important going on. The thing I find most fascinating is the fact that all of those speeches were clearly scripted (half the presenters didn't even bother to read them before hand - well done jackasses), yet every single nominee mouthed the words “thank-you” to the speaker as if they had just improvised the entire thing straight from their alcohol soaked hearts. Sophia Loren could barely utter an intelligible word, let alone string them together without a script.

And poor Robert Downey. The Academy really didn’t want him to be nominated. They didn’t even bother to write an original “tribute” to him. They just stole it right from the movie he was nominated for.

So that’s my take on the Oscars. Big Steaming Pile of Dog Crap on Hollywood’s Lawn, with Hugh Jackman tap dancing over the grass. All that being said, I guess we should go see Slumdog Millionaire.